« PreviousContinue »
street, and Beacon street, blow up directly over the hill. The westerly wind, whether north or south, is more or less diverted from its course by Beacon Hill, and blows in either case over the hill in very much the same way and almost in the same direction, being only deflected here and there by the streets and buildings.
Q. This area of the city which is ventilated by this open space as it now exists-will you point it out?
A. I should say the whole of it.
Q. Remember that this is the utmost limit on the westerly side, and this is the limit on the easterly side. [Indicating.]
A. On most of the older territory in these parts that is those parts by the river until it is cut off by the rise of the ground it is driven around the hill just as it would be driven around the corner of a house. The northwesterly winds would be carried very decidedly in this direction. [Indicating upon the map.] When it is north of west, it would be driven over in this direction. [Indicating.]
Q. Then I would like to ask you the same question as I did Dr. Thaxter in regard to the territory beyond; whether the wind that blows over this space is likely to be vitiated by blowing over the territory that lies up here beyond? [Indicating.] Towards Longwood?
Q. Whatever it is.
A. I think that is very clear of anything offensive as far as I know, although it comes over marsh land.
Q. Anything so far as you are aware?
A. Not until we go towards Brighton and Cambridgeport. Q. That would be rather out of range?
Q. You do not think it is necessary, in order to purify these winds, that they should blow over this water area?
A. Why, yes, I do. The salt water and the entire openness and unobstructed character of the neighborhood are great ad
vantages. If you cover this area with houses, you obstruct these winds.
Q. But you do not consider it is essential in order to purify the air that comes from this district that we should keep this space open?
A. Yes; because if you exclude the heavy tides every day, I think you would soon find it becoming unhealthy.
Q. I am not speaking of that now. The only point is, whether it is necessary to keep that open, to keep this air pure, which comes from the country now?
A. If you bring it over as a bundle of merchandise only, I don't suppose it would alter it at all; but if it comes to us laden with the odors of slaughter-houses, pig-styes and a dirty population, I do.
Q. Then I will ask you the question that the chairman has asked. In this matter I am seeking merely for information. If this space should be built over,—suppose the next thirty years should find this space covered with houses, would not that be
the best ventilated part of the city?
A. No sir; it would be better over here. [Indicating.] I think it is a great injury to this part of the town, filling in here, whatever the character of the buildings and the population may be.
Q. Wouldn't this be better ventilated than any portion would be over here? [Indicating.]
A. It would ventilate these houses at the expense of those above them. It is like taking this property and moving it out into the water. It is as broad as it is long.
Q. That is the experience of the city, is it?
A. Bringing it over an inhabited district would be an injury to it, if you did bring it from the country.
Q. (By the CHAIRMAN.) Do you mean to say when this should be filled up there would be any part of Boston that would be better ventilated than this strip lying between the river and the Common and the Public Garden?
A. Do you mean the old part or the new part?
Q. The whole of it, all that will lie between these two spaces.
A. It would destroy the channel of Charles River to do that, and then of course the whole would be injured.
Q. Whether there would be any part of Boston so well ventilated?
A. I say instead of improving the ventilation you would destroy it.
Q. We only want to know whether after this were done this would not be the best ventilated part of Boston,- I mean the strip here, having the Public Garden behind it?
A. If you do not destroy the water beyond.
Q. (By Mr. CROSBY.) The only proposition has been to move the channel over this way. [Indicating.]
A. If you diminish the channel here down to four hundred feet, it would affect it very materially.
Q. I would ask the doctor further in regard to this, if he remembers the sanitary condition of the South end of the city previous to the filling up in the neighborhood of Tremont and Washington street, when Tremont street or Suffolk street, as it was then called was simply like a railroad embankment, made up out of mud; if he remembers what the sanitary condition of that locality was at that time?
A. It was very sickly; there were many cases of cholera there. It is not any better now; it is not filled up yet; it is just as it was, and rather worse for the filling up around it.
Q. Are you aware whether any of the odors which used to be observed in that part of the city, from Dover street down to Castle street (and they used, I think, to come down as far as Pine street and Hollis street) - whether any of these odors still exist, and are noticeable there?
A. I do not know; we have had, in years past, such an odor from this district that we were obliged to close our windows for a long time.
Q. Do you know, sir, how much of this area up here is unfilled?
A. It is not very large; they have filled in the streets and a good many spaces between. I should think Castle street had not been filled at all except at one end. Shawmut avenue has not been filled at the lower part. Suffolk street is not filled.
Q. Do you think that when that part shall be filled up, and filled in a proper way, not with garbage from the city, but filled properly, -that the health of that part of the city is likely to be improved?
A. Yes, sir; undoubtedly.
Q. You spoke of the sanitary condition of these same districts. I would ask you if you are aware of the character of the filling used in these districts?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. What was it?
A. It was very bad indeed, dock mud, shavings and the debris of the town.
Q. Were there not all sorts of refuse from garbage barrels,
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Would not that of itself be enough to injure it?
A. It would. There is one element—it is fair to mention it—in regard to the sanitary reports, and that is, that these localities are inhabited by a class of people who die faster than other classes of people, because they do not live decently. That should be some deduction from the cause, but it does not alter the general fact.
Q. Then with these fillings which have been put in in other localities, if these districts were covered with wide streets, and comfortable dwellings, and inhabited by people observing most of the sanitary laws, wouldn't you expect the rate of mortality to decrease?
Q. Then all the mortality is not chargeable to the locality? A. No.
Q. (By Mr. KIMBALL.) You have stated that you think the prevalent winds are west and north of west that come over the Back Bay in summer?
A. Yes, sir, I think they are; especially at night.
Q. Now, don't you know that a westerly wind is a very rare thing?
A. A pure westerly wind?
Q. Yes, sir.
A. I think the west wind is very common here at night, blowing until along towards morning. I think it is very rare that you have a night in summer when there is not a westerly wind.
Q. West, or northwest wind? Is not the northerly wind likely to be a stormy wind?
A. No, sir.
Q. It is a cool wind?
A. It is a clear wind.
East of north it becomes stormy. Q. You think the prevailing winds would be west and northwest?
A. I should think westerly, not always "due west," but westerly.
Q. Shouldn't you think it would be more southwest?
A. Perhaps so; I have not taken any particular observation of it.
Q. You are conversant with the Pine Island nuisance ?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. Do you know what winds it would take to bring the odors from this establishment across the city?
A. I should say southerly.
Q. A due westerly wind would be likely to carry it down over South Boston, wouldn't it down over that region? A. I don't remember its relation.